If you grew up in the Midwest then you’re probably familiar with buckeyes. For the rest of you these sweet, nutty candies are a favorite candy of Ohioans, as the buckeye is the Ohio State university mascot. The Ohio buckeye is also the state tree and Ohio is known as the Buckeye State. Given all this it’s not surprising that a candy that looks like the seeds of this tree would be so popular in the state- and in the surrounding areas.
These little balls are made with a peanut butter fudge as the base. Then you dip them in luscious melted chocolate and let them harden in the fridge.
When making these candies it’s tempting to want to roll the balls in between your palms like we did with Play Dough as kids. But, this can result in uneven balls that look more like double-ended tops instead of spheres. To avoid this I found it’s actually quicker and easier to shape them using only your fingertips.
This recipe makes a lot so if you want to shave down your prep time you can halve the recipe and still end up with 30 balls. Making the balls is the most involved step of the process for sure.
I made these buckeyes with both milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips so you could see the difference in color. The actual buckeye nuts (which are toxic) can vary a lot in color, from reddish brown to deep mahogany.
So either chocolate will still look somewhat “accurate” to the plant. I think that the semi-sweet dips better and gives a better flavor, but that’s just me. You could also use white chocolate for a very different look and taste, too.
You don’t need to be too exact about the spheres or the dipping pattern since an irregular look makes them look more like their wild cousins. I used 2 toothpicks for this recipe, one to dunk the balls into chocolate and another to slide the balls off the first. To “remove” the toothpick holes you simply smooth them over using clean hands (after the chocolate has fully set). Or if you don’t mind using a lot of toothpicks you can leave them in the buckeyes.
To jazz these candies up for different holidays you can dip them into sprinkles after their chocolate bath. Semi-sweet chocolate with orange sprinkles would be great for Halloween and white chocolate with blue sugar crystals for Hanukkah. You could use any type of chocolate with red and green sprinkles for Christmas as well, a time when a lot of traditions include peanut butter fudge!
If you or your family are fans of peanut butter cups then these little balls of heaven are a must-make treat for festive occasions.
Ohio Buckeye Candies
Makes 60-65 candies
1h 32m prep time
2m cook time
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 oz milk or dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening or coconut oil
- optional: 1/2 cup sprinkles
- Mix peanut butter, butter, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until uniform in color and texture. Roll into tablespoon sized balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
- Melt chocolate chips in bowl with shortening using 30-second burst in the microwave, string between each one. Use a toothpick to dunk each ball into melted chocolate. Then dunk into sprinkles if using. Place back on parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Smooth over toothpick holes with clean fingertips. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Recipe adapted from Dinner at the Zoo.